Decorating your home can be exciting – but it can be plenty overwhelming, too. If you want to fill your walls up with beautiful photographs and sentimental memories, you might feel a bit lost as to how best to display your photographs. That’s where a modern, beautiful, eye-catching photo wall gallery can save the day.
Believe it or not, you don’t need to hire a professional to create this centerpiece. Here is our simple guide on how to make a photo wall gallery for any home.
How to Make a Photo Wall Gallery: A How to Guide
- Eight Simple Steps to Create a Picture Wall (on Your Own)
- Three Simple Steps to Use an Online Gallery Maker
Why Create a Photo Wall Gallery?
Choosing just a single photograph to hang on your wall can be difficult and frustrating. But a photo wall gallery allows you to bundle all of your memories into a visually pleasing display. And it can add a lot of liveliness to a plain and boring wall!
From a design standpoint, you can use a photo wall gallery to create a focal wall. Focal walls differ from the rest of the room design and draw the viewer’s attention.
(Much like composition is important in photography, composition also matters for interior design. Most rooms need a good focal wall to be compositionally sound!)
Eight Simple Steps to Create a Picture Wall (on Your Own)
If you’re more of a DIYer, here are eight simple steps to make a photo wall yourself.
1. Start with Placement
You can’t have a photo wall without, well, a wall! Start by figuring out exactly where you want your display to be. Your gallery can hang above furniture, such as a living room couch or a bed in the primary suite, or it can take up an entire wall of its own. It can be in the entryway into a home, or it can go up a stairwell.
Once you sort out a space, go ahead and measure the area’s height and length. Remember to account for some negative space (that is, empty areas that will be left blank) on either side, as you don’t want your gallery touching furniture or doorways.
My advice is to measure in inches and convert those inches into feet and centimeters. You see, some frames and print labs measure by feet or centimeters, so it’s best to have this information accessible.
2. Have a theme
Creating a theme for your photo wall gallery is a great way to ensure all of the images are cohesive (unless your theme is not having a theme, which is cool, too!).
Common themes tend to be family-oriented, pet-oriented, or – if you are an actual photographer – oriented around your photography niche. Whatever you choose, having a general idea of what you plan to display will help you select images and create a more thoughtful wall arrangement.
3. Choose the number of photos
Here’s the next question to ask yourself: How many photographs would I like to display? This number will be either even or odd, which will change your arrangement significantly.
Even numbers make for a more patterned and uniform wall, which creates a cleaner look. It’s also great if you want to keep simpler lines in your design; this can follow the lines of the existing furniture and keep the pleasing aesthetic going.
If you decide to go with an odd number of images, the arrangement will look more contemporary and funky. Because you won’t be able to arrange photos in even groups, your odd arrangements will provide a liveliness and energy (and can be displayed in endless combinations!).
4. Frames or Frameless?
Next, you should consider whether or not you’re going to have your photographs displayed in frames.
Framed photos are more traditional and allow you to use standard printing methods (i.e., high-quality paper, often with mats). If you do want frames, remember to account for the extra dimensions when designing the final arrangement.
Frameless is a newer print style that looks very modern. You can produce frameless prints with canvas, acrylic, metal, wood, and more, though these do tend to be significantly more expensive than traditional framed paper prints.
5. Decide on the Layout and Consider Your Images
Now it’s time to choose a layout you like; you’ll also need to think about the photos you’d like to display. Consider the number of images combined with the available sizes and start arranging a puzzle! You can find loads of layout inspiration online, from neat looks to really unique looks (like the heart-shaped wall gallery pictured above).
Decide whether you want all of the photographs to be the same size or different sizes. Same size images are easiest, of course, but it is possible to mix and match vertical and horizontal images.
My suggestion would be to grab a huge roll of brown work or construction paper and spread it on the ground. Mark your available wall space, then start playing with your arrangement options. Once you find an arrangement you like, mark them on the paper (or take a ruler and draw the print outlines). Save this paper.
6. Measure (Again)
Measure everything out one more time, both the wall space and the size of the prints (remember to include the frames if your images aren’t frameless). It’s better to measure multiple times to ensure you haven’t made a mathematical error somewhere. Prints aren’t cheap!
7. Gather (or Order) Your Photographs
If you already have your photographs, frame them up or gather them in one spot. If you don’t have them yet, go ahead and place an order with your favorite print lab. You’ve got the measurements, so this should be a piece of cake.
8. Hang ‘Em Up!
Once you have everything, grab some nails or hooks and get hanging! If you kept the brown paper that I mentioned before, you can tape this briefly to the wall. Put nails in where needed. Take the paper down, then hang up the prints.
If you didn’t follow the brown paper suggestion, use your trusty measuring tape to mark where each print needs to be!
Once you’re done, stand back and enjoy your masterpiece.
Three Simple Steps to Use an Online Gallery Maker
If you’re not as DIY gifted (like myself), lots of great online labs can actually make the whole photo wall gallery layout for you.
As with the DIY version, creating a photo wall starts with measuring your space.
Many print labs will have their preset sizes, so it may be a good idea to determine the wall you’re working with and then compare its size to the preset sizes available. Don’t be afraid to go a bit smaller if the lab doesn’t have something that fits quite perfectly. As long as the display is centered around the spot you like, it’ll work out fine!
2. Find a Lab and Order the Prints
Next, determine the right printing service. Some reputable labs that offer preset gallery walls include Mpix and BayPhoto. There is even a company called Mixtiles that focuses exclusively on creating photo wall galleries.
Their interfaces are all very simple and the process is dead easy: Select the photo wall gallery arrangement you like, upload your photographs (remember to keep them at print resolution; 300 dpi is best), and arrange them using the drag-and-drop interface. Once you’re done, go ahead and place the order!
3. Follow the Lab’s Hanging Instructions
Once your order arrives, you’ll find instructions on how to mimic the gallery wall display you purchased online. With many of the collage walls, they’ll send you a brown paper replication of your print arrangement; you put that up on the wall and put nails into the spots indicated on the paper. Then you remove the paper, hang up your prints, and you’re done!
How to Make a Photo Wall Gallery: Conclusion
As you can see, creating an eye-catching photo wall gallery isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Whether you choose to create it yourself or let the lab do the legwork, we hope your wall comes out exactly as you hoped!